Royal Cromer Golf Club

Royal Cromer Golf Club

Type of course? Heavenly clifftop links

Pleasant staff? Yes

Best hole? The signature hole is the 14th leading to the lighthouse, but the 9th par 3 is particularly daunting and beautiful, with seven pot bunkers protecting the green.

Après golf? A rush back to the house so my panna cotta would have time to set.

Nice round? Fantastic. Every hole is different, the setting is stunning and the course is surprisingly immaculate, considering how little rain the area has had. It soothed the pain of being 3 up with four holes to play and losing the last four holes.

Special memory? Going for a wee after five holes and getting my ankle caught between the very heavy wooden door and the cement step. It hurt A LOT. Charlotte suggested that if my ankle was broken, I should find somewhere to sit while she finished the round on her own. I replied that I would rather gnaw off my foot so I could carry on, dragging my bloody stump along with me. That’s how much we loved the course.

Must play again? I even checked membership prices even though going for a morning round would mean setting off around 4am from home.

Thetford Golf Club

Thetford Golf Club

Type of course? It’s described as heathland, but really, it’s more of an enchanted forest type of course.

Pleasant staff? Very nice.

Best hole? There is no standout hole golfing wise, but the 17th green is surrounded by particularly beautiful trees.

Après golf? I had the cheesiest cheese toastie this side of Switzerland before playing. Superb.

Nice round? Lovely. The course is very pleasant rather than challenging, with no hidden dangers and gentle holes that allow you to recover even if you mess up. It’s a cuddly course.

Special memory? Going through the green with my approach shot on the 18th after observing play while having lunch and agreeing that one mustn’t go through the green.

Must play again? Yes. The setting is really beautiful. Gorgeous trees and lots of wildlife gambollling around, including neon green pheasants.

Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club

Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club

Type of course? The Old Course is all heather, slopes and forest (unsurprisingly).

Pleasant staff? Lovely pro.

Best hole? The 249 yard par 3. Elevated tee, big space, heather left and right and the green in the distance. Boom.

Après golf? Coffee and flapjack avant golf in one of the two bars of the old-fashioned, not extremely welcoming club house. There are repairs being done to the balcony, so the women’s changing room is down a staircase via a secret door at the back of a small dark room. It’s best to ask for directions if you’re a woman and you urgently need the toilet.

Nice round? Wonderful. The sun was shining, the course looked beautiful and we had it all to ourselves, as there was a European Tour event in the morning, which must have put the members off playing.

Special memory? Realising that the cute little par 3 course that I was looking at from the 13th tee wasn’t part of the course, but was in the large back garden of one of the many rich people’s houses that you see while playing.

Must play again? I would love to. It’s a gorgeous, difficult, varied course and I feel like I could have played it a lot better. I’ll just bypass the stuffy clubhouse next time.

East Sussex National Golf Club

East Sussex National Golf Club

Type of course? Undulating parkland.

Pleasant staff? It’s a huge business, with a hotel and two courses, so the service is professional, but quite impersonal. 

Best hole? We played both West and East courses and there are lots of great holes, but the 10th on the East course is beautiful, with a babbling brook snaking around the green.

Après golf? We stayed there two nights as part of our section’s Spring break, so we had plenty of time to sample the facilities. Again, this is a big corporate venue perfect for large groups, so it lacked any kind of personal touch.

Nice round? Great rounds. Although some of the greens were pretty ropey, both courses are very good and fun and parts of them are gorgeous. 

Special memory? This will forever remain the outing where Angela stripped down to her underwear in freezing weather to dive into the freezing lake on the 16th hole (West) in a bid to retrieve her trolley and bag. Sadly four irons remain in their watery grave.

Must play again? Yes, both courses.

Torrey Pines Golf Course

Torrey Pines Golf Course

My first guest review! Charlotte is on a business trip in California and was lucky enough to play this very famous course that I’d never heard about.

Type of course? Iconic and jolly famous.

Pleasant staff? Yes, very.

Best hole? The third. A beautiful par 3 that you need to be bold with because you know you probably aren’t going to play it ever again. It’s a hole that has been photographed many times.

Après golf? A toasted Ruben sandwich that had a lot of cheese, with fries, in the Lodge. Sitting outside, looking down the first hole towards the ocean with paragliders was a lovely way to end the round.

Nice round? Lovely. I joined a three ball, none of whom knew each other. One local who has been playing the course for over 30 years, a lovely chap called Mark from Michigan on holiday in California and a local Californian who has a low handicap but doesn’t get to play much at the moment. All three were charming and complimentary of good shots. They were also good at finding my ball, as it had a tendency to roll in the rough on almost all drives. I particularly enjoyed our local guide saying that the way the rough was cut (or not) at the moment added 6 shots to his round. It was very difficult to find balls and I’m sure a lot of people were annoyed by it.

Special memory? Lots. The excitement of the starter saying there was an available slot at 6:40am (I got there at 6:20am. Thank you jet lag). The relief of hitting a good tee shot on the 7th, where we started, as there was work going on around the first. The sun rising quickly and warming everything up. Seeing the ocean at the end of an immaculate fairway. My first par, 8 holes in. Finally getting the feel of my hired driver on the 6th (our 18th) and really connecting to finally leave a ball on the fairway. I could go on.

Must play again? If someone else would like to play and somehow get a reservation, then yes please. I’ll get on that 11 hour flight again.

Palheiro Golf

Palheiro Golf

Type of course? Hilly. So so hilly.

Pleasant staff? Yes.

Best hole? The 18th because if I tonked my drive, I was able to get on the green in two provided I avoided the bunkers on the right. I just needed one more round to make it happen!

Après golf? Delicious steak bolo de caco and coffee in the clubhouse with an amazing view over Funchal.

Nice round? We had three rounds there and they were all fantastic, especially when we worked out that we should be playing off the blue tees, not the red. The red tees made the course shorter, but also narrower, and length has never been a problem for me, while general golfing skills are.

Special memory? Charlotte birdying the 13th par 3 in front of a small audience as two elderly Portuguese players let us go through. Nice touch. Also, my irons behaved themselves for the first time since I started golf. Hurrah! 

Must play again? I could play it every day and never get bored. Views, gorgeous flowers, beautiful trees and every single hole a delight. It’s in my top 3.